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Got the Cartes de Séjour yesterday!

Continuing my pledge to post our experiences to help others...

We arrived here in early December with Long Stay (D) visas, me salerié en mission. OFII Créteil told us to come there for the medical and then go to the Préfecture for the CdS's, so that is what we did and we were successful. But like most all of these forum stories, there is good news and bad.

The good news is simple: we have the Carte de Séjours.

Here is the bad and the details. We now think that OFII was not correct (and plenty of people will attest that OFII Créteil is ill-informed and poorly run) and the order should have been Préfecture first and OFII second and maybe things would have gone better in that order.

Anyway, we got through the medical at OFII and did so because we are keen students of this forum and what we read here helped us to have everything they asked for.

Then we went to Dépot Groupé at the main Paris Préfecture on Cité, again armed with paperwork based on what we had read here, the main points being an attestation from our landlady that we indeed live where we live, despite the lack of electricity bill; an attestation from me that I earn more than 2x SMIC and will indeed support my spouse, along with a pay stub to prove it; the usual papers everyone knows to bring; plus originals, translations and copies of everything.

I needed a recent full birth certificate and I got this in a couple of days using VitalCheck (which in several posts on this forum is erroneously referred to as VeriCheck). This service is just terrific and well worth the $70.

Having handed all this stuff in, the Préfecture told us we would be called in less than 2 weeks and we would have to pay €49 and €389 and that I would get a 3-year CdS, while my spouse would get a 1-year. They said she should get a 3-year, but they are not yet set up to do it.

Well they did call within 2 weeks, so we went in yesterday, took a number and waited our turn. We did not buy tax stamps in advance because we did not trust that the amounts given to us by DG would turn out to be correct, which they were not. The price was instead €368 and €368. Ouch!

So across the hall to the caisse then back to pick them up. My wife got her 1-year and mine is a 1.5-year. So there I am looking at this card with half the time on it I expected and wondering what to do. Complain and walk out of there with nothing, unsure if I would ever be called again? Just humbly take what is offered and renew sooner than expected? I opted for the latter. I figure once firmly in the system, something like a renewal has to have a higher probability of success.

Was the amount of money paid correct? Who knows? Probably nobody knows. It is correct by definition: we were asked for it, we paid it, therefore it is correct.
 

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Congratulations! Namely for "passing" your first trial in the never ending battle with the French bureaucracy.

To be honest, according to the Service Public website, you probably should be one of those who gets only a "titre de séjour" your first year. Étrangers en France : visa de long séjour valant titre de séjour - Service-public.fr But as you've already noticed, each prefecture seems to do their own thing. The page also gives what are supposed to be the fees for the initial "titre de séjour" but the fact that you have an actual carte de séjour could account for the difference.

In any event, renewing the cartes de séjour should be considerably less expensive than those first ones were. But by then, they may very well have changed the rules again - though whether or not the offices in Créteil will get the memo is anyone's guess.

Ah, France!
Cheers,
Bev
 
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